Abby's Road: What I've learned from a decade of marriage

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My husband and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. Here is what I have learned about marriage during that time.

Marriage is hard. Parenting is harder. Parenting your spouse is oddly satisfying.

At the wedding, there is talk of patience and sharing and love taking root to blossom like a rose. In the marriage, the talk quickly turns to heating bills and clogged toilets and weeds taking root to destroy the brick walkway laid as part of a do-it-yourself weekend extravaganza.

Love means never having to say, “Can I try a bite of that?”

When you have been married for more than three years, you talk about your spouse’s terrible taste in music, television and fashion with other married couples of similar vintage. You secretly wonder if your spouse’s terrible taste might reflect poorly on the fact that your spouse decided to marry you.

You get married to prove that the cliches about men refusing to put dirty clothes in the hamper and women being hyperbolically afraid of mice are true.

Marriage teaches you that it is possible to argue about how someone argues. Marriage teaches you that someone can type on a computer keyboard in a manner that is highly irritating. Marriage teaches you that sometimes you should just go to bed angry, even though you probably won’t sleep very well.

If you don’t have a sense of humor and a sense of trust, then marriage will not make sense to you.

Your husband’s cold, cramp or cut will always require bed rest and comfort foods. Your husband will concentrate on securing a proper lunch, even when you are a few shallow breaths shy of birthing your first child. Your husband will never understand that sometimes, you just want cheese and crackers for dinner.

Your mother-in-law can be your greatest ally.

Asking your spouse about the random itch on your back is the human equivalent of doing a search on WebMD.

On your first date, you agonize internally over whether you should order a dish including broccoli. You love broccoli, but you’re weighing the risk that a tendril or two might lodge itself in your crooked tooth, leaving you with a garden of green in your smile. On your first wedding anniversary, you order that very broccoli dish, and you grin broadly at your husband repeatedly over the course of dinner to have him confirm that your teeth remain uncluttered.

On the first night your first child sleeps from dark to dawn, you decide that sleeping uninterrupted next to your spouse is the most intimate, bonding experience you have ever shared.

Tiny discoveries keep things exciting. I just learned my husband likes chocolate-based ice cream, but he does not like vanilla-based ice cream with chocolate accents. I was floored.

There is no room for grudges or judgment in marriage. There is barely enough room for streaming Netflix. Monitor the amount of shows you binge-watch.

You must do things you had never before considered reasonable. You must buy several different kinds of milk. You must pluck someone else’s ingrown hair. You must schedule date nights using an electronic calendar functionality.

It is all about communication. Sometimes, you must explain that you will give him a hug, but only with one arm because you’re still holding a grocery bag and the bag has eggs in it and you’re worried the eggs might break. It’s not because you’re mad at him.

Marriage is not about traditional romance. Marriage is about considering it romantic when he fishes your wedding ring out of the shower drain with a coat hanger after it fell off when you were overly generous with the conditioner.

Marriage is not about always having a date on New Year’s Eve. Marriage is about going to a New Year’s Eve party without your spouse and feeling like you forgot something – your leg, or at least your foot – all night long.

Marriage is not about how he makes you feel on the good days. Marriage is about how he makes you feel on the bad days. Marriage is about ending one day knowing that, whatever the next day brings, you’ll figure it out together.

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Abby Diaz grew up in Falmouth and lives there again, because that’s how life works. She blogs at whatsleftover.com. Follow Abby on Twitter: @AbbyDiaz1.

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